Helical CT Features of Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy

Helical CT Features of Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy


Fumiko Kimura, MD ; Fumikazu Sakai, MD ; Yasunari Sakomura, MD ; Mikihiko Fujimura, MD ; Eiko Ueno, MD ; Naoki Matsuda, MD ; Hiroshi Kasanuki, MD ; Norio Mitsuhashi, MD

1 From the Department of Radiology (F.K., F.S., M.F., E.U., N. Mitsuhashi) and the Department of Cardiology in the Heart Institute of Japan (Y.S., N. Matsuda, H.K.), Tokyo Women’s Medical University, 8-1 Kawada-cho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 162-8666, Japan. Recipient of a Certificate of Merit award for an education exhibit at the 2001 RSNA scientific assembly. Received February 14, 2002; revision requested March 13 and received May 8; accepted May 10.

Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC), also known as arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia, is a disorder of the heart muscle of unknown origin. It is characterized by electrical instability of the heart as a result of replacement of the right ventricular myocardium with fatty or fibrous fatty tissue. Dilatation of the right ventricle; fatty tissue in conspicuous trabeculae of the right ventricle, especially in the anterior wall, apex, and inferior (diaphragmatic) wall; and a scalloped appearance (bulging) of the right ventricular wall are characteristic findings at helical computed tomography (CT) that may be used to diagnose ARVC. Fatty tissue in the left ventricle and ventricular septum is seen relatively frequently in ARVC, and fat in the ventricular septum is another useful finding for diagnosis of ARVC with helical CT. ARVC is usually diagnosed on the basis of clinical or pathologic findings, and electron-beam CT is superior to nongated helical CT in assessment of abnormal right ventricular function. However, with knowledge of the characteristic findings, standard nongated helical CT can be helpful in diagnosing ARVC.